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BOOK REVIEWS ticularly engaging and convincing case for Sidney Olivier's daughters as the prototypes for the unconventional daughters of Captain Shotover (Sidney Olivier being one of the four people Shaw read the play to when he had finished writing it). As for the meaning ofthat mysterious play, even the great Bryden must resort to metaphor when he tries to explain it—he compares the play at length to a chess game, and the analogy is strained. But I hardly blame him for it, as Heartbreak House, Shaw's most modernist play which he himself professed not to understand, is the least penetrable of all his plays. (Why is there no reference here to A.M. Gibbs's excellent monograph on the play?) Perhaps it is inevitable that such collections of essays should be uneven , but there is no reason that it should contain the number of errors and omissions it does, errors and omissions that are especially regrettable in a book that will be widely used as a reference by people looking to be guided to the best that has been written by Shaw and about him. This is the first book Cambridge University Press has deigned to publish on Bernard Shaw—mirabile dictu—and they should have done a better job with it. John A. Bertolini ____________________ Middlebury College Traces of Life Shani D'Cruze. Crimes of Outrage: Sex, Violence and Victorian Working Women. DeKaIb: Northern Illinois University Press, 1998. viii + 263 pp. Cloth $38.00 Paper $16.50 SHANI D'CRUZE identifies her purpose in Crimes of Outrage: Sex, Violence and Victorian Working Women as looking "at the ways that sexual and physical violence impinged on mid- and late- nineteenth century working women's social identities." The book's real interest, for most readers, will grow from the extent to which she has managed to unearth records that provide evidence about the kind of women whose lives have left very little trace in history. Among the primary sources are, for example, magistrates' petty sessions minute books. Local magistrates had jurisdiction over minor violence (though of course there was regional and probably even personal variation in what kind of violence was "minor"). Furthermore, the separation , maintenance and custody clauses written into the Matrimonial Causes Act of 1878 (largely through the efforts of Frances Power Cobbe) gave magistrates increasing responsibility for hearing cases brought by 215 ELT 43 : 2 2000 women wnose husbands had abused them. D'Cruze has also used newspaper accounts where they exist (finding, in some cases, interesting differences between the journalists' stories and the record of evidence presented to the magistrates) and "Police Sectional Occurrence Books" which record day-by-day accounts of police activity. Here too there are some difficulties: domestic violence or neighborhood disputes or sexual assaults become a "police occurrence" only when someone makes a report which the police think is worth their attention or if public order is disturbed enough to require their intervention. The cases are drawn from Lancashire, Cheshire and Suffolk, cover the period from the 1830s into the first decade of the twentieth century, and take in just over 900 individual incidents that include murder, attempted suicide, rape, assault , bastardy, infanticide, neglect of family, indecent language, disorderly conduct, and similar offenses. The book, then, is an historian's detailed examination of a very limited set of archives in the effort to recover the voices and experiences of women whose lives are otherwise virtually undocumented. As D'Cruze explains, in the first chapter, much of the evidence is problematic. "Transcripts " of magistrates' hearings, which seem to hold the promise of providing women's voices speaking of their own experience, are shaped both by the questions asked (which are often not part of the record) and by the form in which answers are recorded. Did the clerk actually write down what the witness said, or did he shape the material by his own criteria of importance (as evidence) and intelligibility (in language and grammar)? Furthermore, both rules of evidence and women's difficulties in speaking (or being heard) no doubt led to many cases in which sexual assaults were tried as common assaults. A rape might well result in a...


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pp. 215-218
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Will Be Archived 2021
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